Brushing Hero

App review by
Mieke VanderBorght, Common Sense Media
Brushing Hero App Poster Image
Brush teeth, defeat monsters; hero for some, not for all.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this app.

Educational Value

Kids play a game while brushing their teeth, which may entice them to brush for a full minute (less than the recommended time of two minutes), but it doesn't teach about oral hygiene.

Ease of Play

Setting up your device in the right way can require some creativity.

Violence & Scariness
Sexy Stuff

An icon in the settings menu takes users to other apps from the same developer in the iTunes store without a parent gate. An in-app purchase offers additional content.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Brushing Hero is meant to be used while your kids are brushing their teeth to encourage them to keep brushing. Parents will need to find a way to set up their device so that the camera captures kids in just the right way while they brush their teeth. Parents also need to allow Brushing Hero to access their device's camera. While kids brush their teeth, they see themselves on the screen with a helmet on their head. Kids' brushing motions help "defeat" monsters during a one-minute long session. After playing, the app is locked for three hours. Kids can wait, or they can give up a percentage of the coins they earn to play again immediately. An in-app purchase of $0.99 unlocks four hero helmets. Some awkward wording is probably the result of imperfect translation. Read the developer's privacy policy for details on how your (or your kids') information is collected, used, and shared and any choices you may have in the matter, and note that privacy policies and terms of service frequently change.

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What's it about?

Allow BRUSHING HERO to access your device's camera, and set the device in a stable location so that the camera can see your kid brushing his or her teeth. Once started, kids see themselves on-screen with a hero's helmet on their head. While the one-minute timer counts down, kids' vigorous brushing motions send strength up to cartoon warriors fighting monsters at the top of the screen. The more monsters they defeat, the more coins kids earn. Earn hero cards to increase attack power, and beat a dragon every 30 levels to earn a new helmet.

Is it any good?

Though parents tired of arguing with their kids about the importance of brushing their teeth may find this extra motivation appealing, it may not work for all. Brushing Hero is a cute idea and sure to appeal to kids. It's really neat to see yourself on-screen with the hero's helmet on and to see your actions affect the action on the screen. Kids may very well get their arms pumping in an effort to beat the monsters. Unfortunately, however, the timer only goes for one minute, despite the well-known recommendation to brush for at least two minutes. The three-hour wait period is a nice thought, as it's probably there to discourage kids from just wanting to play again and again and again. However, kids are forced to ignore the block and sacrifice points to play twice in a row so that they can follow the recommendation and brush for two minutes. Logistically, it can be tricky to get the device in the right place and at the right angle for it all to work well. More generally, some parents may want to think twice before they introduce a screen to yet another small ritual of their kids' lives without any embedded education about why the habit is important in the first place.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about why it's important to brush your teeth, with or without Brushing Hero.

  • Does using Brushing Hero make brushing your teeth more fun? Why or why not?

  • Sing songs, make a family competition, use timers, do a dance, or include other fun family traditions to encourage kids to brush their teeth at least two times per day, for two minutes each time.

App details

  • Devices: iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad, Android
  • Skills: Health & Fitness: hygiene and self care
  • Price: Free
  • Pricing structure: Free (purchase additional content with $.99 in app purchase.)
  • Release date: December 12, 2018
  • Category: Education
  • Topics: Superheroes
  • Size: 315.40 MB
  • Publisher: LITALICO Inc.
  • Version: 1.0.4
  • Minimum software requirements: iOS 8.0 or later; Android 5.0 and up
  • Last updated: January 30, 2019

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